Monday, 30 December 2013

Every picture tells a story....


Rue in Surgeres

For some time I have been planning to transfer the Sock family photo archives onto my computer.  This is an enormous task as we travelled extensively around Europe when I was a child, my parents whisking us out of school for a month every year in order for my father to drive us to some far flung (by those days standards) destination like Dubrovnik.  We saw a lot of Europe - but mainly from the back of the car, it was called 'touring'.  I keep meaning to write about some of these adventures on my Fourth Plate blog but that means prompting my memories with the thousands of archived 35mm transparencies, each one taking an age to transfer and clean up in photoshop.  I get too easily distracted every time I start this task, either by something else on the computer which demands my attention or, as in this case, a curiousity about some particular photographs.

These are dated 1965 and labelled 'Surgères (The Garden City)'. We were travelling from Sable D'Olonne down the Atlantic coast towards Biarritz (my first but by no means my last visit to the latter which became a favourite holiday haunt over the years). Surgères would be close to our route but I can find no record of there being a garden festival or garden city there at that time although it would appear to be somewhere we stopped at with a purpose so something must have drawn the Socks to this small French town.

 The picture I find most haunting from a 'time gone by' is the one at the top of this blog, a road in Surgères. The complete lack of traffic or parked cars, the tortured trees forming rather attractive archways across the road, the very 'Frenchness' of it all.  

At the Bedsock's suggestion I checked Surgères out on Google Earth, it's not a big place and although it has plenty of greenery there is no obvious Rue of tunnelled trees.

YoungMaSock (pictured below) had obviously found some horticultural delights for us to sample. I wonder if she nicked the oranges when no-one was looking - certainly I remember us eating foraged fruits on our holidays and knowing MaSock's liking for food for free it wouldn't surprise me.

BroSock and I don't look particularly impressed with the donkey!

This below was probably the height of horticultural sophistication at the time!

This last photo is of Bayonne further south down the coast  - another of the Sock's favourite French places.

Bayonne 1965

French municipal planting probably hasn't changed a great deal since then (although they often do a good roundabout, far more imaginative than the majority of British ones!)  It's the sort of planting scheme that Anne Wareham must surely hate but personally I think it has just a hint of je ne sais quoi!

I remember the dress, YoungMaSock had made it as she did most of my clothes - many of them extremely pretty and remembered with great fondness until MaSock discovered the joys of drip-dry, no-iron crimplene and my wardrobe took a drastic turn for the worse.  The Clarks, T bar sandals and white ankle socks were standard wear for little girls - I was still forced to wear them to school into my teens often changing into tights and slightly more sophisticated shoes when I was half way down the road and out of MaSock's sight.

You can see how I get distracted! There are another 90 photos to go on this holiday alone.  Doesn't look like SockTowers will be cleaned any time soon!


Anonymous said...

Ah! T-bar shoes and white ankle socks. I was wearing both in the eighties. I would sneak trendier clothes into my bag and change at a friends house en route to school. I remember having to wear those ankle socks one Easter with a new summer dress which was covered in bows (I hated bows). This was in spite of the fact it was one of those Easters when winter woollies would have been more appropriate. I love the street of trees and the roundabout is fab. OK it's at the other end of the scale to the wafty, natural planting I prefer but I love it's exuberance. There's also something to be said for the sense of local pride behind it. I live in a village where Britain in Bloom has died a death and the beds lay empty last year. Sad that the Olympic spirit faded so quickly. Looking forward to more images from the Sock photo library. :)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to share some of our family holidays from my childhood; but I fear you would be sorely disappointed. My father is an aircraft nut. Every summer we would holiday on the Isle of Anglesey, to a campsite right at the end of the runway of RAF Valley. Being a training airfield it had planes in and out all the time (mostly Hawks like the red arrows fly). At 05:50 we would be awoken by the first aircraft of the day taking off right over the tent (and later caravan) which would fly around the hills of Snowdonia, checking out the weather. Whilst my dad would watch the planes all day we would play on the fantastically long beach there at Rhosneiger, sometimes also watching the planes. Occasionally he could be dragged away from the airfield to take us to South-Stack lighthouse. We even got the ferry to Ireland for the day. What we don't have is many photos of the family. He took hundreds of photos, but unless we happened to walk in front of an aircraft we were unlikely to appear in front of the lens.....

Arabella Sock said...

Happy New Year to you both. I wonder if Tbars and ankle socks are still de-rigeur for school girls. It's funny to think that the changing into trendier shoes thing is probably still going on. I like the roundabout planting too - it's difficult to feel a civic pride in roundabouts called after what are presumably their sponsors'The Mitsubishi Roundabout' in Bridport!!
The slide transferring process is slow but it is very interesting and extremely nostalgic for me.

Pianolearner - I'm afraid I can't think of anything worse than an aircraft nut for a father. I have a phobia of those nasty 'Hawks' not helped by seeing one crash into the sea after it screamed through the sky not 30ft above my head over Brighton beach. When visiting Pembroke with Ma and Pa Sock some years back some tore over the coast leaving me a gibbering wreck much to OldmaSock's amusement - she said that when I was a small child they used to hurtle over the cliffs near Newgale beach and I would always get very upset even then! I hadn't realised how far back my phobia went but as with all these things I suspect the lack of sympathy I got from OMS didn't help!!

I'm about half way thru this particular 1965 holiday batch and whilst Pa Sock was a good photographer most of the family pics are of us walking down streets with our backs to him! I think, like me, he must have preferred landscape photos to family portraits!